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DUI does not always involve driving

| Mar 4, 2020 | Criminal Defense

A conviction for drunk driving can have a devastating effect on your future. Having a DUI on your record can complicate any future job search, disqualify you from certain professional certifications and potentially jeopardize the job you already have. It is no laughing matter and nothing to shrug off if police arrest you for drunk driving, especially in a state like New Jersey where the DUI penalties are so strict.

When you think of a drunk driving arrest, you probably imagine a police cruiser pulling up behind a car or pickup truck and officers putting the driver through a series of sobriety tests. However, this is only one situation that may fit the legal definition of a DUI. It is a good idea to understand how far police may go to place someone under arrest for suspicion of impaired driving.

The nuances of the law

Operating a motor vehicle when your blood alcohol concentration is above the legal limit of .08 is not a wise choice. In fact, you may fully understand this and decide that the better alternative is to sit in your car and take a little nap before trying to drive home. Are the keys still in the ignition? Are they in your pants pocket?

Unfortunately, if police see you asleep in your vehicle and your BAC is over the legal limit, they may still arrest you for DUI. This is because the law allows for your arrest if you have physical control of the vehicle, even if you are sound asleep and, in some cases, if you are on the passenger side or in the back seat. You may also find yourself facing DUI charges if police say you were over the legal limit while doing the following:

  • Driving on private property, particularly if officers determine you were risking your safety or the safety of others
  • Operating a tractor or other farm equipment, especially if you are on a public road
  • Riding a motorized scooter
  • Operating a boat or other watercraft
  • Driving a golf cart, lawn mower or similar motorized vehicle
  • Operating a snowmobile

This is not a complete list, but it may be enough to say that operating any motorized vehicle after drinking alcohol may place you at risk of arrest, which can lead to significant hardships if a court convicts you. If police recently arrested you for DUI under strange circumstances, you would be wise to have an attorney review the details and guide you in challenging the charges.

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